Sometimes on weekends all I want to do is sit on my couch and watch TV. Others, however, I want to have a little fun but then end up staying in due to lack of planning abilities.

I decided to look for some activities that can be spontaneously enjoyed, whether you are going alone, with kids, or family.

So if you are a last-minute planner, or don’t enjoy any type of planning at all, here are some activities that require the most minimal effort when it comes to planning.

Pumpkin / Apple Picking

Pumpkin and apple picking is such a fun way to spend the early fall days, and is also the perfect photo op if you are looking for cute pictures to take. Pumpkins make great fall decorations for your home, and are also a delicious ingredient for fall dessert. I will never forget the times my parents took me apple picking as a child, and continue to carry out that tradition as a parent.

fire pit

Backyard firepitting

You bought that fire pit for a reason and it definitely wasn’t for a hot summer night! Now it’s going to be the perfect weather to sit around your fire, whether it’s gas or natural wood.
So grab your family and enjoy a crisp fall evening around a crackling fire.

We buy those 3-foot bamboo skewers so that the kids can stand far enough away from the fire and roast marshmallows. Hot apple cider is a must. And bring a few blankets outside, too. It’s free and requires no planning: It’s The perfect spontaneous fall activity.

Fall festival

Most areas of Jersey are holding fun weekend festivals full of rides, games, food and more. If you can’t remember the last time you went on a ferris wheel, or shoved your face with hotdogs and popcorn, consider checking to see if there are any of your local upcoming festivals.

pumpkin pie spice walnuts banana cupcakes

Bake fall desserts

I am a sucker for fall desserts. Whether it’s pumpkin pie, apple cider donuts, banana bread or pie, the smell of cinnamon aerating through my household just can’t be beat. I tend to tune in a little extra to food blogs throughout the fall season, as I am always looking for a new recipe to whip up.

Ice skating

Who says ice skating is just for the winter? This is the perfect day time activity, which can be followed up with hot chocolate and a delicious lunch. Plenty of indoor skating rinks are open to the public throughout the weekend, and are the perfect way to welcome in the cold weather.

hayride sign


Nighttime hayrides can be surprisingly scary. If you love a little bit of spookiness, or want to do something unique with friends this is for you. My family and I love to go on haunted hayrides, and then award ourselves with caramel apples after we have been scared straight. Hayrides don’t tend to sell out unless it’s Halloween, so it’s the perfect last minute decision.

Foliage at High Point State Park
Photo by Bill Doyle / Townsquare Media

Foliage hunting

It sounds so cliché, but actually it is one of the most relaxing and enjoyable activities you can take on during the fall season here in New Jersey. It’s not officially fall yet so you’ll probably have to wait a couple of weeks to do this, but as soon as the leaves start turning take a drive through one of the beautiful leafy towns in New Jersey and you will literally gasp at the magnificent colors.

Once a year my husband and I do this— primarily in the northwest of the state like Sussex and Warren counties — but you can do it in the Pine Barrens, too. Or anywhere that’s lush and tree-filled.

Viewing fall foliage can feel like you’re in a fantasy world and requires no planning whatsoever

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco. Any opinions expressed are Judi Franco’s own.

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